Best Medical Credit Card For Paying Medical Bills
Having to undergo a procedure or visit a professional that is not covered by a health insurance policy can result in major financial stress.
Due to this reality, many healthcare providers offer patients access to medical credit cards as an alternative way to pay for their medical expenses.
First Things First, What Are The Benefits?
-Immediate Access To Care: A medical credit card pays the healthcare provider at the moment of the transaction.
This allows the individual immediate access to the healthcare they need.
Other options may require a waiting period and time which some patients simply do not have.
-Preservation Of Liquid Cash: These cards allow individuals to conserve their cash.
This can be very important in economically trying times as access to liquid funds is always very important.
Individuals who may be out of work for an extended period of time due to a surgery or course of treatment may wish to have a cash reserve to pay for other items such as food, rent, transportation, and other essentials.
What About The Risks?
-Deferred, Not 0%, Interest: Most card issuers will advertise 0% interest when in reality what they really offer is deferred interest.
This works by giving the cardholder a set amount of time to pay off the entirety of their balance.
If the balance is paid off within that period, there is no interest charged on the debt.
If the balance is not paid off in full, the cardholder is charged interest, usually at a high-interest rate.
-Can Negatively Affect Credit Score: Because these cards are treated like any other consumer debt a few missed payments can have a negative effect on one’s credit score.
This is also true if the card increases the individual's debt-to-income ratio or credit utilization ratio.
-Can Cost More In The Long Term: For those who fail to pay off their debt within the deferred interest period will end up paying significantly more in the long run than those who do not.
The Top Three Options
Choosing the wrong medical card can have a long-lasting impact on one’s financial future.
Below is a brief overview of the top three recommended cards.
CreditCare is popular because it offers both short and long-term financing options that cover a large variety of medical procedures.
Unlike many other cards, they offer several 0% deferred interest options that range from 6-24 months.
Those who need more than 24 months to pay off their medical debt may qualify for a special 60 month payment plan.
Should the card holder fail to pay off their balance in full before the deferred interest period ends, the outstanding balance will be subject to an APR of 26.99%
Chase Freedom Unlimited
A medical credit card is not always the best option and sometimes a standard consumer credit card offers better terms.
This is particularly true in the case of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.
The deferred interest promotions that standard medical cards offer are only attractive if the applicant is positive they will be able to pay off their balance within the specified time.
If they cannot, it will result in much larger costs in the long run.
Because of this, a card that offers a 0% no interest period for 15 months, without any deferred interest, is a superior option for those who qualify.
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
When it comes to debt consolidation, one of the most overlooked options is a credit card balance transfer.
Many people end up accepting a medical credit card out of desperation, only to find that a year or two down the road they are still paying it off.
The Amex EveryDay® credit card is a great choice for those looking to transfer their high-interest medical credit card debt to a card with more favorable terms.
The card offers 0% interest for 15 months on all transferred balances, and then 14.49% - 25.49% APR after that.
While this card may require a higher than average credit score for approval, it offers advantages beyond what a standard medical credit card is able to deliver.
Medical cards may offer an avenue of hope for those struggling to pay for necessary medical care or procedures.
This being said, those who fail to pay off the entirety of their balance within the allotted interest deferral period will end up paying significantly more in the long run.
Anyone in this situation should look at other options, such as credit cards with introductory 0% APR offers, before deciding upon a medical credit card.